Some secondary schools reopen in France

Secondary schools for pupils in sixième and cinquième (age 12-13) have reopened today in most departments of France.

18 May 2020
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Around 185,000 students returned to school this morning in the 4,000 secondary schools allowed to reopen.

Secondary schools remain closed in departments classed as red due to the circulation of Covid-19 and the ability of local hospitals to cope with new cases, particularly in intensive care. The red regions are Ile-de-France, Grand Est, Hauts-de-France, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

Secondary school students have to wear a mask when 1-metre social distancing is not possible, and teachers are obliged to wear a mask too.

Classrooms have been redesigned to respect the sanitary measures and social distancing.  

The reopening of schools in the other regions will be decided at the end of May. A decision will be taken for students in quatrième and troisième (age 14-15) and on reopening lycées at this time too.

Education Minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer said: “We are taking things step by step for the students but it is important that they can find their way back to school.”

The minister stressed that not going to school from March to September would increase inequalities between pupils and increase the risk of students dropping out of school.

He said: "Not going to school from March to September would result in a really serious situation."

However, students in Corsica will not go back to school. “The Corsican community has decided that the general reopening of nurseries, primary schools, secondary schools, high schools and the University of Corsica will not take place until September 2020”,  said the regional executive council of Corsica.

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